What is Networking: Networking is the number one way people get jobs. “Networking is the time-honored process of using cordial alliances and information referrals to further one's professional advancement and success. Networking is a two-way street. Members call on friends and colleagues for problem solving, information gathering, job leads, gaining access to role models, and for general support. In turn, they provide these services to peers and people on the way up”.
Benefits of Networking: “Because the vast majority of job openings are never advertised, job-seekers need to have a network of contacts that can provide support, information, and job leads”.
Additional reasons to network:
- To gather information in a low stress environment
- To develop a clearer understanding of a specific career field
- To begin to establish a network of contacts to hire or refer you (build relationships)
- To get connected to information about a particular company or organization
- To learn successful strategies for finding employment
- To gain experience in interviewing
- Because “94% of all successful job seekers claimed networking had made all the difference for them” (Wall Street Journal, as cited on msn.com).
Building Your Network: Create a networking list or a contact list. Include all the people you know, and get their lists of contacts, etc. Be sure to include all of your parents’ friends, your friend’s parents, and friends of other family members. Listed below are resources and strategies you can use to expand your current network:
- Attend information sessions and events offered on and off campus
- Attend career fairs, recruiting and interview events
- Speak with your professors and ask them for suggestions
- Conduct an Informational Interview
- Complete an internship or Shadow-a Saint
- Join and use the SLU group on LinkedIn. St. Lawrence University maintains a specific group within LinkedIn, and students and alumni interested in becoming part of this group are encouraged to submit a request to join. The St. Lawrence alumni network is strong and active, and moving student/alumni networking to LinkedIn allows individuals to keep their information up-to-date, ask questions and participate in discussions, share insights, and conduct member searches.
Networking Rules: Networking is an intimidating task to accomplish and there are very clear networking rules that you need to follow when establishing and building relationships with your existing and growing network of contacts. Please see below the "dos" and "don'ts" to keep in mind while networking:
- Do your homework before you meet with a contact
- Do meet with your contact in person whenever possible
- Do prepare an agenda in advance
- Do educate your contacts about you
- Do keep expanding your network
- Do try to reciprocate as often as possible
- Do practice before you begin
- Do keep the door open for follow-up with your contact
- Don’t ask for a job or internship
- Don’t ask someone to send your resume around
- Don’t expect too much too soon
- Don’t assume others know your background
- Don’t give the impression that you’re looking for any old job – be focused
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a response from someone
- Don’t bend the truth
- Don’t forget to send a thank-you note!
- Don’t forget to let your network know the outcome
- Don’t disregard your contact’s schedule or time
SLU Alumni and Group on LinkedIn:
With the increased use of social media and the considerable change in how alumni and students approach networking, the alumni networking database is now located on LinkedIn. You can search SLU alumni on the St. Lawrence University LinkedIn site. St. Lawrence University also maintains a specific group within LinkedIn, and students and alumni interested in becoming part of this group are encouraged to submit a request to join. The St. Lawrence alumni network is strong and active, and moving student/alumni networking to LinkedIn allows individuals to keep their information up-to-date, ask questions and participate in discussions, share insights, and conduct member searches. Students and alumni may also invite others to connect to them to build their network, and have more in-depth “off-line” conversations.
Because LinkedIn is a service for individuals, each alumni/student will need to create a personal account on LinkedIn and submit a request to join the SLU group. To submit your request to join the St. Lawrence networking group, go to linkedin.com and create a free account or use your current account if you have one. Complete as much of your profile as possible, especially the Education section (requests to join will not be approved if the Education section is incomplete). After completing your profile, click on Groups, conduct a search by typing in the search box "St. Lawrence University (SLU)", and click request to join. Once approved, you will be able to post questions, participate in discussions, search for members, and add connections to your network. More LinkedIn tips can be found in "Resources" in your Handshake account.
If you have questions or require assistance please contact Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 229-5906.
How to contact SLU Alumni:
Please see pages 18-19 of the Professional Correspondence Guidebook for guidelines on how to contact alumni, and to view a sample letter/e-mail introduction you might send. If you will be meeting with alumni, you can review a list of sample informational interview questions.
Be certain you ALWAYS write a note thanking each alumnus/a for taking the time to meet/speak/correspond with you. Keeping alumni informed of your job search assures them that their time was well spent and helps to strengthen your contact with important network contacts.
**A FINAL NOTE OF CAUTION - Be smart. As you build your network with people you may not know yet, remember to approach any meeting you set up with the utmost professionalism. These cautionary notes provide some general rules designed to protect you:
1) DO NOT agree to meet anyone at any site other than a business location you can look-up;
2) NEVER agree to meet in a park, a bank, a bar, or some such place and ONLY meet during the daytime. If you've already built a sense of trust with the person, meeting for coffee at a familiar place to you may be just fine, but always exercise caution. Bring a friend along if you are concerned and tell someone where you are going for any interview.
Okay. There you have it. These cautionary notes are not meant to frighten you; just be smart as you go about meeting new people.